NEW Cooperative looking at adding feed mill at Cooper location

~by Janice Harbaugh for GreeneCountyNewsOnline

Managers for NEW Cooperative Inc., an agronomy company based in Fort Dodge and operating a site south of Cooper on Highway 4, spoke to the Greene County board of supervisors at the regular meeting on Feb 13 about expanding operations at the Cooper site.

Mark Walter, grain manager, and Frank Huseman, operations manager, said plans are to add a swine feed mill and elevators to the site. Twenty-two acres of land adjoining the current site to the north have been purchased. Plans include an elevator designed for 4.4 million bushels of grain and a feed mill capable of producing around 700,000 tons annually. Concrete silos and steel bins are planned.

Walter and Huseman presented diagrams to the board but emphasized the layout is preliminary, depending on Department of Natural Resources approval of air quality control, Department of Transportation requirements for the construction of entrances and exits, and availability of natural gas. Construction permits would also be needed.
Walter said production would be of bulk feed rather than bagged feed, citing “biosecurity issues for the pork industry.”

Huseman said the cooperative anticipates the addition of 16 or 17 new jobs created by this improvement to the current site. Five employees currently work at the Cooper site.
Walter and Huseman would like to begin communications with the supervisors and zoning officials about reclassifying the added 22 acres and exploring property tax assistance.

Chair John Muir called the idea “exciting and good” and indicated support in “whatever we can do to help it along.” He also supported “the creation of new jobs.”
Supervisor Tom Contner said, “It’s well-needed in that area.”

The board agreed to continue communication with NEW Cooperative about developments and needs.

NEW Cooperative Inc. has sites in 39 communities across the state. It is a farmer-owned cooperative with 4,800 members and reportedly returned $18 million to members last year.
In other business, county attorney Thomas Laehn reported he discussed Greene County’s current contract for probation services with Diane Hinderaker, director of Boone County Probation Services. At a previous board meeting, Hinderaker and Laehn said the current pilot program is at its capacity of 20 probationers.

After further discussion, Laehn and Hinderaker agreed new clients could be added immediately to the pilot project under the existing project payment of $8,515, if an amendment to the pilot project contract is made. The amendment could allow the contract to renew automatically each year. Laehn said an amendment will be forthcoming.

Wade Weiss, engineer, reported a “national push to get internet to rural areas.” Work near Rippey on a large pole is for this purpose. The pole has been a source of questions as work progressed on it.

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